Here are a few things you can do to help you manage your epilepsy. They might help you to have fewer seizures. Or they might help you to feel more confident about living with epilepsy.
Take your medicine regularly
It’s important to take your epilepsy medicine regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Missing a dose can increase your risk of having a seizure.
Attend your treatment reviews
UK guidelines say you should have a regular review of your epilepsy treatment at least once a year. Usually this will be with your GP, but it could be with your specialist. If your doctor doesn’t invite you for a review, you can ask for one.
"I've been blessed with a brilliant neurologist, who has found the right balance of medications to get my seizures under control."
Know your triggers
You might find that certain things make you more likely to have seizures. These are often called triggers. Common triggers include stress, not sleeping well and drinking too much alcohol. A very small number of people have seizures triggered by lights that flash or flicker. Avoiding your triggers can help you to have fewer seizures. However, not everyone is able to identify a trigger for their seizures.
Some people with epilepsy drink alcohol and some people don’t. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to drink alcohol. But bear in mind that for some people, alcohol can make seizures more likely. Find out more about epilepsy and alcohol.
Recreational drugs include illegal drugs and ‘legal highs’. There is no control over what goes into these drugs. They can be dangerous and they can trigger seizures.
Keep a seizure diary
Keeping a seizure diary can help you and your doctors see if there is a pattern to your seizures. It can also help you to find out if anything triggers your seizures.
Read our tips to help with memory problems
Many people with epilepsy have problems with their memory. Seizures can affect memory. And some epilepsy medicines can affect memory. You can get more information about epilepsy and memory, including tips for coping with memory problems on our memory webpages.
Talk to people
Finding out you have epilepsy can be a lot to come to terms with, but talking to friends and family can help. You might also want to talk to other people with epilepsy. This could be at an Epilepsy Action coffee and chat group. Or you could join our free online community, forum4e.
"Don't let it rule or ruin your life – hard to do at first, as I know only too well. But talking it through with family and friends can and will help you to come to terms with it."
Look after your emotional wellbeing
Living with epilepsy can have a big impact on your emotions. This is particularly true if you have just been diagnosed. You might feel stressed, sad, angry, lonely or anxious. Depression is also common in people with epilepsy. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be depressed, as depression can be treated.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank Naomi Baxter and Wendy Burton, epilepsy specialist nurses at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, and Professor Matthew Walker, consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, for their contributions to this information.
They have declared no conflict of interest.
This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.
- Updated February 2019To be reviewed February 2022